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Pediatr Res. 2000 May;47(5):692-7.

Dietary supplementation of arachidonic acid is associated with higher whole body weight and bone mineral density in growing pigs.

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  • 1Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Essential fatty acids are fundamental to normal growth and development, but North American formulas do not contain arachidonic (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The main objective of the present study was to determine whether addition of AA and DHA to formula elevates growth and bone mineralization in piglets. A secondary objective was to establish whether liver fatty acid composition is related to that of bone. Twelve 10-d-old male piglets were randomized to receive either a standard formula with an n-6:n-3 fatty acid ratio of 4.9:1.0 or the same formula made with an equal amount of fat but containing AA (0.5% wt/wt total fat) and DHA (0.1% wt/wt total fat) for 14 d. Piglets in the supplemented group had significantly (p < 0.05) higher weight and greater bone mineral density of the whole body, lumbar spine, and femur. No differences were observed in whole body length, calcium absorption, or biochemical markers of bone metabolism. Feeding AA resulted in lower linoleic acid (p < 0.05) and higher (p < 0.05) AA in liver total lipid (% wt/wt) and bone FFA (% wt/wt) but no change to DHA. Liver AA (% wt/wt total lipid) was positively related (p < 0.05) to growth, free AA (% wt/wt) in bone, bone mineral content, bone mineral density, and urinary prostaglandin E2 but negatively related (p < 0.05) to free linoleic acid in bone. Inverse relationships were observed when liver linoleic acid was substituted for liver AA as the independent variable. These data indicate that feeding AA is associated with elevated weight and higher whole body and regional bone mineral density.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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